Let’s face it, Holland has a high theft rate when it comes to bicycles. Those who have mistakenly left their bike unlocked when heading into the gym or supermarket can attest just how quickly a theft can occur. But there are other times when a person has locked their bike, parked it in a highly visible location, (usually not so inviting to thieves) and yet it is still missing when they return to get it. Where did it go? Who took it?
The most logical answer is that it was absconded by vigilantes within the local bike police. Every municipality has one. It is the organization that is contracted to take away bikes that are left in places they aren’t allowed. Such locations will often include along pedestrian-only streets and around train stations (if it isn’t in a designated bike park stall).
The enforcement by the said bike police can seem rather random, but eventually it will catch up with you if you whether you are a frequent or infrequent offender of the bike parking rules. While a bicycle parked “illegally” always stands the possibility of being lifted onto the dreaded flatbed truck that will cart it off to some remote, inconvenient municipal bike depot, chances are that if the bike is chained to an immovable object, it is more likely to still be around when you return.
Some common places here in South Holland that a bike is likely to get taken by the bike police include along Grote Marktstraat and around Central Station in The Hague, Stationsplein in Leiden, Markt and Stationsplein in Delft and Stationsplein in Rotterdam.
How to reclaim a bike that has been taken away by the municipal bike police?
Although slightly different for each municipality, generally this will require:
- Going to the bike pound where yours was taken (usually called a fietsdepot or fietspunt)
- Identifying your bike (these are usually grouped by day they were taken)
- Presenting a key to the lock on the bike (or proving your ownership in some other way, such as purchase receipt)
- Providing your personal identification (which will be noted in the record)
- Paying the removal/storage fee
Where was your bike taken?
Here are the addresses of the bike depots for several municipalities in South Holland…
Fietsdepot Haaglanden – Junostraat 24, Den Haag (in the Binckhorst district) Cost €25
Fiets Weg – Willem Barentszstraat 20, Leiden (in the De Waard – Zijlkwartier) Cost: €26
Fietspunt – Koperstraat 23, Rotterdam (in Prins Alexander district) Cost: €20
Fietsen Depot – Fluwelensingel 86A, Gouda